Leading Well

Called to Lead. Called to Wellness.


A 5-month experience of online community.

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me.” – John 7:37

The entire world has shifted since COVID-19 became a reality. All of our normal routines are disrupted. We are surrounded by change. What has not changed, however, is our deep need for sabbath rest and collegial support. Those things may be more important now than ever before. 

As the facilitators of the annual “Leading Well” retreats, we recognize that there is no shortage of webinars about important topics surrounding church leadership. There does, however, appear to be a deep need for pause, for sabbath, and for reflection. In response, we are introducing “Leading from the Well,” a 5-month experience of online community.

For those five months, participants will have access to:

  • “Abiding Together” – monthly, zoom-based moments for sabbath and reflection
    These monthly gatherings will be 30-minute sabbath moments that include music from Michael Larson*, scripture reading, and a time for reflection and connection with colleagues. Each session will end with a blessing.
    These will be held on the third Thursday of each month at 1:00 PM Central.
  • “A Sanctuary in Time” – two 4-hour guided spiritual retreats in November of 2020 and January of 2021. These two virtual retreats will provide space for both individuals and teams to be rooted together, and to reflect on the changes of 2020. The November retreat will include a guided process for identifying goals for 2021, both personally and professionally. The January retreat will be a different event, designed to match the needs of our community in early 2021.
  • Additional resources to quench your thirst


We are offering the above experience of online community on a sliding scale of suggested donations. 

For individuals: A suggested donation of $100-$200
For teams from the same congregation: A suggested donation of $200-$300 for two or more from the same staff.

Registration includes all monthly events, both retreats, and other fellowship and/or music events that are created.

If you have additional questions, please email hello@vibrantfaith.org.

Register below by September 15th to participate in the first monthly gathering!

  • This year, we are offering participants the opportunity to select the amount they wish to donate to attend Leading Well. When you submit this form, we will email you an invoice to be paid through our payment portal. Suggested donation amounts: For individuals attending September 2020 through January 2021: $100-$200 For teams from the same congregation: $200-$300 for two or more from the same staff.

About Leading Well

Our Philosophy and Approach to Leading Well

Leading Well is a “learning retreat” open to all types of church leaders.

It is for anyone who works with paid staff or volunteers in the context of a church. This includes those who are newly called to leading in ministry and those who wish to sharpen their skills. Pastors, Discipleship Coordinators, Deacons, Youth Directors, Children’s Ministry leaders, Worship leaders, Judicatory leaders, program staff, and anyone else who feels the call to follow Christ through service in the Church are all welcome.

Our events are a unique blend of practical learning and sabbath rest, with a focus on the leader as a whole person. Presentations cover everything from technological tools for ministry to leveraging conflict as an opportunity for growth.

Our facilitators understand they are more than presenters; they are the stewards of the event. The wisdom shared at the event will come from their prepared materials and much comes from YOU – the leaders who attend, each bringing your own gifts and diverse experiences. Many of our past participants have commented that their greatest “takeaways” came from synthesizing the content with fellow colleagues who also attended!

Each participant leaves the event with a “Leadership Formation Plan” tailored to their context, gifts, and present needs.

“A great week of learning, collaborating with colleagues, connecting with those who face similar challenges, and feeling refreshed and renewed for ministry.”

~ Jenny

Leading Well attendee - 2019

This is the single richest continuing education experience I have had in my 14 years of ministry! Rich worship, rich Sabbath, rich sharing with colleagues, rich self-reflection, rich new ideas and a plan to move forward.

~ Annie

Leading Well attendee - 2019

Practical Learning.
Sabbath Rest.
Collegial Support.

“The balance between Sabbath rest, beautiful scenery, collegiality, learning and worship is the best I’ve ever experienced.
It provides an example of how my life could be all the time.”

~ Tom

Leading Well attendee, 2019

Leading Well Learning Retreats

We have temporarily replaced our annual Learning Retreats with our 5-month Leading from the Well programming until we can ensure the safety of our attendees. If you would like to register for a Leading from the Well 5-month program, you can fill out the form above. 

Leading Well can help leaders…

  • improve staff and volunteer management
  • think through strategy and staffing challenges in congregations
  • deepen your sense of call, worship, retreat, and collegial support

Our four-day Learning Retreats

Our four-day training experience for pastors, deacons, and church leaders offers a unique blend of practical skill development along with worship, retreat, and sharing of best practices. Come and learn with and from your talented colleagues across the country.


  • Refine your capacity to work effectively with staff and volunteers.
  • Explore your gifts, strengths and values, and their implications for leadership
  • Practice what it means for you to live and lead well.
  • Learn ways to interpret your ministry context.
  • Take time for worship, prayer, rest, and fellowship.

“Leading Well has given me support, space, and resources to navigate change in life and ministry.”

~ Brad

Leading Well Attendee, 2019

Cost | What is Included

Individual Rates include program tuition and vary based on room occupancy, if you stay onsite, and if you are a Siebert Grant recipient.

On-site housing includes 9 full meals, 3 night’s lodging and hospitality. On-site meals and hospitality are also included in the Commuter rate.

Double Occupancy  – $875 per person
Single Occupancy – $975 per person
Commuter – $675 per person

SIEBERT GRANT (Double) – No charge
SIEBERT GRANT (Single) – $150
Non-participating Spouse – $475

Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center hosts our AZ retreat each November. Between programming, participants can hike, explore the outdoor labyrinth, or soak in the pool or hot tub.
The Duncan Center hosts our FL retreat each January. Participants have access to the beach, outdoor & indoor labyrinths, a pool, and hot tub.

“The blend of learning, sabbath, and collegial support inspires and keeps me going throughout the year. Thanks for your hard work and the intentionality around this event.”

~ Denise

Leading Well Attendee, 2019

Event Schedule

AY 1 – Tuesday
Reflections & stories about living well
Reflections & stories about leading well
Listening & learning as spiritual practices
Learning to be present & curious

DAY 2 – Wednesday
Storytelling as the basis for discipleship
Storytelling as the basis for stewardship
Embedding storytelling into our churches

DAY 3 – Thursday
Embracing disruptive changes as doors to deeper mission
Anticipating & preparing for disruption
Moving people beyond their comfort zones

DAY 4 – Friday
Creative crowd-sourcing session
Using crowd-sourcing in our congregations
Naming our ONE THING and ONE WORD

“I’m profoundly appreciative of the vulnerable spaces Leading Well creates. This is a sacred community, and Spirit in the Desert is a sacred place. It restores my soul!”

~ Nathan

Leading Well attendee, 2019


    Your facilitators for the retreat include:

    Jim LaDoux: Conference Host, Facilitator & Coach
    Deacon Tammy Devine: Facilitator, Worship Leader & Spirituality Coach
    Michael Larson: Musician, Artist, Thought Leader & Retreat Facilitator
    Rev. Matthew Short: Facilitator, Chaplain & Worship Leader

    More from leaders who have attended Leading Well Retreats

    Thank you. What a generous gift to the church leader and congregation! The impact of this conference might be small or completely transformative as participants leave with a heart and tool box full of ideas, full of resources with no shame attached to outcomes.

    Leading Well guided me in facing my doubts with confidence and enhanced my God-given ability to be a leader in Christ’s church.

    Leading Well is restorative learning. I feel supported and encouraged by colleagues across the country. There is a wealth of ideas that gives me the voice I need to continue to be a healthy leader.

    I need more of these kinds of events in my life to help me have less stress/frustration in my ministry life.

    My time at Spirit in the Desert has been rich with learning, reflection, rest and renewal; I’m energized to return to my congregation supported by the wisdom and insights of the leaders and my colleagues.

    I came to Leading Well overwhelmed, troubled, and uncertain of a viable healthy path forward with regards to my ministry and personal health. I leave still overwhelmed, but feeling lighter, better equipped, hopeful and blessed to have a new community to support me.

    Additional Resources for leaders

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